Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Bread machine recommendations and advice
Reader Debbie wrote to me requesting a post about bread machines! :)
I want to get one, but don't know what the good points and bad points are, and it sounds like lots of ladies on you site use them. I would make bread more often if I didn't have to take the time to fuss with it so much.
Debbie, thanks for the great topic suggestion! :) I haven't had extensive experience with bread machines, so hopefully there will be some folks willing to comment with more information, as well! :)
My mom always made her bread by hand, so when -- a few months after we were married -- Joshua suggested getting me a bread machine, I told him I really had no use for such a thing! I am generally not inclined to acquire new "gadgets" and I couldn't imagine a bread machine being useful enough to warrant storing something so huge! :)
However, not long after, we were visiting some friends, and the lady was making bread. She pulled the loveliest dough out of her bread machine and placed it in a greased pan to rise. I had no idea that bread machines could be used to knead the dough (without baking it, as well) and I realized that a bread machine could save hours of kneading time, if nothing else! :)
My first bread machine was an older Toastmaster model from a garage sale. We weren't really thrilled with the baked loaves -- I couldn't seem to figure out how to get them to be light or fluffy enough. So I ended up using it just for kneading the dough -- which worked out fine, since we liked to have pizza, challah, or other breads that can't be baked in a bread machine, anyway.
My mom, hearing me talk about enjoying using my bread machine, bought one herself, second-hand (but never used) from a newspaper ad. It was also a Toastmaster machine, and made fabulous bread! The bread was so fluffy, and just perfect! I think my mom made about one loaf of bread every day in it -- I remember going over for dinner and everyone just devoured the delicious, fresh, hot bread!
In the meantime, my bread machine pan wore out, and with it being an older model, we decided it would be cheaper to just buy a new Sunbeam brand bread machine than to replace the old pan. I read reviews online, and it seemed that some people loved the Sunbeam brand, and others didn't. Well, I tried baking bread in mine, and we just weren't satisfied with the results. (Thick crust, dark top, not risen high enough, etc.) Since my bread turns out great when I bake it in my oven, I just decided to go with that route. I do use my bread machine frequently, for mixing up pizza dough, bagel dough, bread, challah, sweet rolls, dinner rolls, etc. I would really miss not having it!
However, I know there are other options if you want something that will just knead the dough for you. Maybe some of my readers could enlighten me as to exactly what those things are. (KitchenAid dough hook? Bosch? What do all these things do?!)
Anyway, back to the story about my mom's bread machine. Hers eventually wore out. I'm not sure how long it lasted... maybe a year or so. It was very well-used by the time it wore out. Similar models were rather pricey at $80 or more (she had paid $25) so she bought a Sunbeam bread machine, like I had.
However, her always-perfect bread didn't turn out so good. She tried many times to adjust her recipe, settings, etc. to figure out what the problem was. (Having hot, fresh, perfect homemade bread come out of a machine is worth some work of adjusting, right?! :D) After many tries, I think she just gave up on getting that machine to bake loaves like her old one had.
Because of the great success my mom had with her former Toastmaster machine, and all of the tweaking she did to try to make the Sunbeam machine function as well, I really believe that the Sunbeam bread machine is inferior, and I wouldn't recommend getting one if you plan to bake the bread in it.
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Kitchen Tip Tuesdays Participants
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2. Frosting tip
3. Trixie @ Farm Home Life (clutter)
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5. *Michigan Momma*
6. Erika (funnel cakes)